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Improving Reading Comprehension in Classic Literature

Many high school students have a difficult experience with their first classic literature assignment. The archaic prose of works by Dickens, Melville and Shakespeare can prove difficult to understand and seem like a whole other language. So how do we break the barriers between literature and learning?

There are a variety of ways that we can increase comprehension when reading literature. Using these techniques increases the comprehension of a classic novel in a variety of students and can result in successful comprehension of the piece of literature.

One of the top ways to increase comprehension of literature in the classroom, and with tutoring tactics, is to compare the text with a modern day interpretation of the literature. Learning by comparison can be helpful. Comparing classic literature to modern situations can also help students. Often younger generations will be more adept to learn the themes of classics they are able to identify with. If the tutor is able to provide some mirroring within the classic to modern day situations, the student is more likely to learn the information.

Providing a translation for texts written in poetry can also prove helpful. Since poetry is a language all its own, especially with Victorian authors such as Byron, Keats and Shelley, providing a text with a contemporary translation under or opposite of each line in the poem increases comprehension for the student.

Using textual clues such as descriptive words to gain the feeling of the literature can improve comprehension greatly. These identifier words can create recognition of one word, which can lead to the comprehension of one phrase, which can lead to the comprehension of the whole page.

These are just some techniques a good tutor can employ to help their student’s grasp of reading comprehension with classic literature; find a tutor near you to learn more!

Resources for Classic Literature

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